5 things Novak Djokovic must do to regain his mojo
With the strong return of Fedal and the unbridled consistency of Murray, can Djokovic turn the tide in his favour once again?
Around this time last year, the world was at Novak Djokovic's feet. He was riding along a stream of victories that had led him to a cornucopia of small and big titles. With Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal struggling and Andy Murray eons behind in the ATP rankings, the 'Big 4' had transformed into the 'Big 1'.
Then, the Career Grand Slam happened. And after that, everything changed.
The cloak of invincibility wrapped around him started unraveling slowly but surely. He lost to Sam Querrey in the 2nd round of Wimbledon, then to Juan Martin del Potro in the 1st round of the Olympics, which was followed by a loss to Stan Wawrinka in the finals of the US Open and a defeat against Murray in the finals of the ATP World Tour Finals – the last of which also cost him his World No. 1 ranking.
2017 started well for the Serb, when he won the title in Doha. The final, between a resurging Djokovic and a determined Murray, was one of the best matches the duo has ever produced. However, just as the world thought Djokovic was gathering momentum again, he fell to the then world no.117, Denis Istomin, in the 2nd round of his beloved Australian Open.
Something is definitely not right. The World No. 2 is no longer an immutable force. However, it would be foolish to rule out the possibility of him making a strong comeback.
Here are the five things he can do to revamp his challenge this season –
#5 The Indian Wells and Miami title sweep
The two ATP Masters 1000 events are a lot more than just 2,000 points to defend for Djokovic. They are like castles he can always go back to when he is feeling unsure in other battles. The slow hard courts on both the surfaces suit his game seamlessly and bring out his best.
He won both the titles in 2011, 2014, 2015 and in 2016, the last of which also marked his record 28th Masters Title and a hat trick of the IW-Miami title sweep, a feat that hadn’t been achieved by anyone before him. The Serb has managed to win Miami six times and Indian Wells five times over the span of his career.
These tournaments probably are the most prestigious events in tennis after the Grand Slams. If the World No. 2 manages to defend his titles here, it will do a world of good to his self-belief, and to his ranking! Moreover, whenever he has managed to win both the tournaments in a go, the rest of his season has always accelerated from there.
Winning at Indian Wells and Miami will help him regain his confidence and spirit, as they are places that he knows won’t disappoint him ever.